Politics & Government

Poll: Obama's health care overhaul isn't selling in South

Barack Obama's push to revamp the nation's health care system is getting the cold shoulder from Southerners, according to a new poll by Winthrop University.

But the president, who picked up a trio of Southern states in winning the 2008 presidential election, remains well-liked in this region, with solid majorities saying he is warm and friendly, trustworthy and concerned about people like those polled in South Carolina and 10 other Southern states.

Obama's signature domestic policy effort - reforming the nation's health care system - is running into a head wind from Southerners who said they are satisfied with the cost and quality of their health insurance and unhappy with the way the president is handling the issue.

"I'm not saying that we don't need an overall reform, but I think it's kind of extreme what they're trying to shove down our throats," said J. Chester Gambrell, a salesman who lives in Florence and participated in the poll. "I don't want a socialistic view of health care like Canada's got, like England's got."

The Winthrop poll, conducted in late October and early November, showed the president faces a challenge in persuading Southerners that broad health care reform is a necessity.

More than 77 percent of those polled said they are satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of the health care they receive. Just under 53 percent said they are satisfied or very satisfied with the cost of health care.

Health care comes in a distant second to the economy when Southerners were asked to name the most important problem facing the country today.

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